QUAERITUR: Can a traditionalist priest require women to cover their heads during Mass?

From a reader:

I have read web sites from FSSP Traditional parishes that indicate women are to cover their heads during Mass. My understanding is that the requirement was removed from Canon Law, thus it is no longer a sin to not cover. However, if a traditionalist priest made it a requirement for his parish, or for his congregation in the case of a quasi-parish, would the woman sin by disobedience if she refused to cover her head, and could a priest make it a requirement in order to, for example, receive communion?

I am glad that this is only a hypothetical question and that no priest has been foolish enough to deny women Communion if they had no head covering.

News of that sort, if true, would provoke The Wrath Of The Whatever From High Atop The Thing.

Univerase Ecclesiae 28, which clarified some points of Summorum Pontificum, stated that those rubrical things and practices in force in 1962 which were in the Missale Romanum were to be maintained now.  Thus, no Communion in the hand, no altar girls, etc. Summorum Pontificum did not revive the canon of the old, 1917 Code of Canon Law concerning head coverings.

I think a case can be made that during celebrations of Holy Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum it is good that women cover their heads.  As a matter of fact, why limit that to the 1962MR?  Let’s apply that the Ordinary Form as well!   That said, there is no law on the books right now that obliges women to cover their heads during Mass.   But think: New Evangelization…. Year of Faith… New Evangelization… Year of Faith….

So, while there is no strict obligation according to the law, the ethos of the older use of the Roman Rite creates a soft obligation, an environment in which people will of their own free will conform to what the older use is about.  That suggests a willingness on the part of women to use a head-covering in church.  It does not impose any hard obligation.  I don’t think anyone should look cross-eyed at a woman with an uncovered head in church for the Extraordinary Form.  That would be boorish.

Were I to hear that a priest would not give Communion to a woman for the sole reason that she was not wearing a head covering… well… let’s just hope that never happens.

Anyway… ladies… promote the New Evangelization during the Year of Faith and start wearing those chapel veils in church!


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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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46 Responses to QUAERITUR: Can a traditionalist priest require women to cover their heads during Mass?

  1. Father K says:

    ‘Were I to hear that a priest would not give Communion to a woman for the sole reason that she was not wearing a head covering… well… let’s just hope that never happens.’

    I know of one SSPX priest who does precisely this…there are probably others.

  2. Phil_NL says:

    Sigh.

    Quite frankly, I think that anyone that requires head coverings is doing the Church a huge disservice. Unless one has been living like an ostrich for the last decade or two, it’s clear to anyone that in a large chunk of the world the tone about religion is set by muslims. One of the distinctive, and generally abhorred, practices among them is to force their women to wear headcoverings (or even more). Nothing would make it easier for all the media with a leftish agenda (but I repeat myself, especially in the European context) to throw Catholicism and islam on one big pile and argue they’re all bad.

    Headcoverings are toxic. The last thing we should want is to be compared, with reason, to the group that forms the worst threat to the Faith (and civilization in general) in the current day.

  3. AvantiBev says:

    Sorry, Father Z. While I love the Extraordinary Form and have gratefully participated in it since joining St. John Cantius Parish, Chicago, in 1993, I SHALL NOT COVER while the followers of the false prophet Mo shoot 14 year old Pakistani school girls trying to get an education. Hijabs, niqabs, burkhas, yes I know they are different from a chapel veil and they spring from a different and false view of woman’s place on this earth, but I swore on September 12, 2001 that no cloth would be draped over my head until the TRUE GOD and TRUE FAITH triumph over that misogynistic bull that Satan posing as Gabriel whispered in Mohammed’s ear. We’re in a 1400 year old war here folks whether you kumbaya katholics like it or not. Hand me a helmet not a veil.

    [Wow. And with this there will open one of the strangest rabbit holes any comment will have ever opened here. Thanks for the extra work.]

  4. tzard says:

    Double Sigh.

    God requires a change of heart – and as humans our actions direct our minds. Kneeling, chapel veils, grace before meals, facing east, fish on Friday – are all not strictly necessary in and of themselves, but are of great help in forming our minds in accordance with the will of the Father. And *That* is what’s important, not whether we look like muslims or not.

    Catholic Culture, folks. It’s what we poor sinners need to help us along the path.

  5. introibo says:

    Would you folks who don’t want to look like Muslims consider wearing hats? There are many lovely styles of hats, some more casual (like berets, or my favorite, a Greek fishermann style hat), for all seasons of the year.

  6. wmeyer says:

    Hijabs, niqabs, burkhas, yes I know they are different from a chapel veil…

    Yes they are, and Mo came later–Catholics were here first, veils and all. I understand your emotions, but I rebel at the notion of letting radical Muslims interfere with any of our traditions.

  7. Phil_NL says:

    @wmeyer:

    It’s not about muslims interfering with our traditions (though as a man, I have little use for that tradition anyway, and find the notion that it will make one namometer of difference to whether I’m distracted or not preposterous; God gave me a brain, and that’s perfectly capable of filling in the ‘blanks’ if it comes to that. But all that’s an aside.)

    The real problem is the impression made on the non-Catholic, non-muslim majority. Especially in Europe (and parts of Africa, it seems) the situation has deteriorated to such an extent that special government measures are needed to keep the rise of islam in check. Sadly, neither the government nor the majority over the voters shows much interest in that problem. So the last thing we need is that the uninformed are thinking that there isn’t a whole lot of difference betwene Catholics and muslims. Either we loose necessary support to keep the cresent moon out (bad), or the eventual backlash will target all religion including Catholics (if possible, worse).

    It’s not about traditions, it’s about winning the war – and preferably making sure that it doesn’t become too hot a war on our soil.

    Which also answers tzard: martyrdom is also a sure way to get into heaven, but a world where that’s the default way for Catholics to attain salvation is not the kind of world I hope to leave to my (one day, hopefully) children. And unless the rise of islam will be halted, many martyrs are forthcoming. (Nigeria today, Europe sometime soon if left unchecked) I’d rather keep that number low, and that means the fight against islam takes priority. And for that, as explained, we need allies, including those who will make no effort to understand the difference between us and the enemy.

  8. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Baleful comparisons between Islamic and Christian practice concerning the covering of women’s heads are simply not helpful: Catholics and Muslims profess belief in a personal God and Catholic (clergy) and Muslims pray five times a day; should we Catholics therefore reject belief in a personal God and reject the Liturgy of the Hours lest we (gasp) appear to be paddling at the edge of the Islamic Whirlpool, into the hideous maw of which we are at risk of disappearing forever?

    I mean, honestly!

  9. wmeyer says:

    Phil_NL: We can’t take responsibility for the ignorance of those who will draw a nonexistent connection. It’s not about winning the war, and it is, very much about our own identity. Anyone who would confuse a Catholic with a Muslim is indeed ignorant.

  10. ScholaLady says:

    In eight years of attending EF Masses in various locations, I have never seen a woman denied Holy Communion because she didn’t have her head covered. At the EF Mass we regularly attend, there are always a few women whose heads aren’t covered, and I’ve never seen anyone give them a hard time about it.
    As far as I understand it, veiling is a voluntary devotion. Like any other Catholic devotion, it is not an instant ticket into heaven, just something that helps for some of us. The idea that we should abandon it because Muslim women also wear head coverings is ridiculous. Especially since most of the hats, mantillas, and chapel veils women wear at Mass would probably not even be considered adequate head coverings by Muslims.

  11. Johnno says:

    Phil_NL:

    Your accusations about women covering their heads being a ‘disservice’ and accusing holy women of being ‘ostriches’ who ignore world opinion on Islam is highly offensive! Toxic??? How dare you say such a thing! Who do you think you are?!

    Who cares what the Leftist media thinks? They are the same ones who throw tantrums over changing the words spoken during the mass! Frankly anything that will give them a mental hernia over our religious identity is a plus! Let them froth at the mouth and throw vessels around for all we care!

    How about YOU, be more concerned for what Catholics believe and what the significance of the veil is? [How about I now delete the rest of your comment now.]

  12. Phil_NL says:

    I maintain, it’s a world full of ignorance, and without the ignorant, in 50 years time we’ll be no better off than the Christians in the Middle East. Then everyone can argue the niceties of Catholic culture while trying to settle elsewhere.

    Again, I’d rather not let it get that far. That means you either educate the ignorant, or you make sure they don’t need to be educated. Given the enormous amount of education that’s needed anyway – not in the least about the nature of the enemy – I doubt we’ll even get the essential through in sufficient quantity. Let alone the non-essential parts regarding the distinction between chapel veils and headscarves.
    (Not to mention the fact that if any man should force a women to cover, even if the penalty would be withholding of Communion, he’s no better than a muslim in that respect. And, incidentally, in France punishable by law too, if I’m not mistaken)

  13. Yes, Father Z., I will wear my chapel veil.
    I believe the Holy Spirit gave me the inclination (and the courage) to cover my head in the Presence of Christ. I first wore a veil when visiting an FSSP parish in a nearby city a few years ago. They set out extra veils for those wishing to cover their head for Holy Mass. (There is no requirement, and maybe half of the women use a head covering there.)

    While wearing the veil for the first time, I felt as if our Lord was holding my head in His hands, directing my focus solely on Him. (Reminded me of a horse wearing blinders to train eyes on what is in front, and not on the crowds~to better run the race.)

    Wearing that loaned veil in the EF Mass, in the company of so many veils, was a graced moment in my spiritual life. Discerning wearing a veil in my home parish (where no one wears veils) was a difficult and humbling process which took some time and much prayer. When I did begin wearing the veil, the challenges and insults came along, too.
    But since I am wearing the veil for God, and not for anyone else, it really doesn’t matter what storms rage around me. As long as I keep my eyes intently on Him, the seas will be calm.

  14. AnnAsher says:

    If it weren’t for the sort of arrogant piety that can permiate otherwise well meaning persons in the manner they introduce the veil. I read I ritually that a woman should first veil her heart. I think that is good advice. We, not priests, should attempt to force the covering of womens heads. I usually answer that is it a calling and refer to the veiling of sacred things. I leave it for the women who inquire to determine whether they are so called.

  15. a catechist says:

    I attended a priest’s ordination this summer and afterwards an older lady from another parish complimented my husband on my veil and said no ones does in her parish & how she wished they did. Without missing a beat, he asked her if she’d start the trend herself. That’s evangelization.

    FWIW, I cover my hair ordinarily. Having Mass be the only time my hair wasn’t covered up was just really weird!!!

  16. Precentrix says:

    Box on left of door on way in, clean veils/scarves/hats.
    Box on right of door on way out, worn veils/scarves/hats.
    A volunteer to wash the ones that have been used.
    A big sign with a pertinent quotation.
    Job done.

  17. johnmann says:

    That Muslim-sympathizing Laura Bush dishonored the victims of 9/11 by veiling in the presence of the Holy Father. And all our religious sisters continue to follow sharia law.

    Only in modern secular America is veiling perverted like this. I refuse to give in to the terrorists. My only question is whether altargirls at OF Masses should be required to veil. I’d prefer it.

  18. Michelle F says:

    Orthodox Jewish women (and men) cover their heads. Here is an explanation given by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz on MyJewishLearning.com:

    “In Jewish tradition, and even in very old linguistic usage, ‘an uncovered head’ means unbridled license. By the same token, covering the head, be it for prayer and study or at any other time, represents, by general usage at least, the acceptance of Divine sovereignty, of the ‘yoke of the kingdom of heaven.’”

    Eastern Orthodox Christian women also traditionally cover their heads, and it is required in some Eastern Orthodox Churches. From the website of St. John the Evangelist Orthodox Church in Tempe, AZ:

    “Orthodox women, according to the words of the holy Apostle Paul, go to God’s church with covered heads. For nearly two thousand years now, this custom has been kept by faithful women and has been handed down from generation to generation. It is a custom not only of the local churches, but also of the Universal Church, and, therefore whether we be in a Greek, in a Serbian or Russian church the women in the church have their heads covered.”

    Dismissing the wearing of veils by women simply because Muslim women cover their heads is absurd. Even Protestant women traditionally cover their heads. There is no valid argument for women going to Mass with their heads uncovered.

  19. Mrs.Abingdon says:

    Regarding the lady’s question which precipitated this discussion, namely, whether a woman could be guilty of disobedience in a parish whose pastor wanted head coverings: I am surprised no one has mentioned Cardinal Burke’s response to this matter. Forgive me if I get this wrong, but didn’t he say that while the expectation at a Mass in the Extraordinary Form is that ladies will cover their heads, they do not sin if they forgo wearing a covering?

  20. Jucken says:

    Summorum Pontificum did not revive the canon of the old, 1917 Code of Canon Law concerning head coverings.

    Wait, do you mean that canon is dead?

    Doesn’t 1983 canon 21 point otherwise?

  21. joan ellen says:

    I’ve covered my head 24/7 for many years. Daytime, dressier time, and nighttime scarves do help my soul re: “…unbridled license…”. They remind me of who I am and Who God is. At Mass a scarf makes it seem that I have dressed for Our Blessed Lord.

  22. joan ellen says:

    I usually fold my scarves into a wide head band. There is no need to wonder where my head covering is. Have heard many different kinds of comments through the years. It doesn’t matter one whit. It is one little thing that I can easily do for Our Lord and maybe for my soul as well.

  23. AnnM says:

    While Fr Z is quite right in his analysis, I have found there is a hidden pressure in some FSSP churches (in my experience) for women to don veils. The box of veils at the back of the church is a case in point. I come from a European and not an American tradition and in France, say, I’ve very rarely seen women wearing veils at the EF. A few more in Britain but still not nearly as many as in the US. It’s just not a northern European tradition and I suspect not a tradition in many parts of America either, apart from the Hispanic connection, perhaps. A lot of well-meaning people talk about the “tradition” of veiling but I think many may be rather too young to remember pre V2, as I do (just!). Women wore hats. As a child I’d have a big hair ribbon, say. Veils were only for weddings, First Communion and Confirmation.
    Headcoverings started to go out , even among the devout, by the 1970s – not, I would suggest because people were being disobedient (why go to Mass at all in that case) but because people increasingly found it meaningless and the Church and the Canon lawyers very sensibly realised this. Culturally, hats and headcoverings are no longer required in most of secular society, so their connection with respect, humility, reverence, whatever, isn’t automatically understood.
    We should not, in my opinion, equate veil-wearing with reviving other pious practices – traditional prayers, novenas, genuflecting etc., since the meaning of these is still quite clear, even in the modern age. They are truly timeless, whereas veils, arguably are not. People are free to draw all kinds of spiritual benefit from veil-wearing but not everyone “gets” this and why should they? “Why should a doily on my head make me a better Catholic?” they might quite reasonably say. There are far more important things to concentrate on. And as a friend remarked, other body parts that should be covered first!
    While I have no time for people who would stop women wearing veils, or ridicule them, I myself am not drawn to the practice – though I do like wearing hats, simply as a matter of dressing elegantly for Our Saviour as we would for the Queen at a royal garden party! As a cradle and I hope loyal Catholic, I would very much resent having a sacramental that is not one I’m comfortable with being forced on me, whether officially or tacitly. The veil-box-in-the-back thing has actually put me off going to some of these churches. This shouldn’t be so, of course but I am much happier attending the EF in a mainstream parish church where you normally find around half with veils and half not. If women want to wear one, they can easily google the internet and get one and until then, use a scarf. I think the revival of the EF is a great blessing to the Church but I do not see why the EF and the wearing of veils should automatically go hand in hand – and the veil box rather assumes this, which is actually not what the Church teaches, with all due respect to Cardinal George! And as other posters have put it, it makes absolutely no sense for one type of Mass to insist on veils and not the other, since Christ is equally present in both.
    Finally, I do think the Islamic comparison is a bit of a red herring but on the other hand, it may well be what some people these days automatically think of. (I am also uneasy about the creeping practice of wearing voluminous shawls which really are getting to look a little like Islamic wear!)

  24. AnnM says:

    So sorry, Cardinal Burke, not Cardinal George!

  25. johnmann says:

    @Jucken, Can. 21 does not apply to the 1917 Canon which is expressly and without doubt abrogated by Can. 6.

  26. ngtgail says:

    Where I live they do not say the Extraordinary Mass but I still gladly wear a veil in Church out of respect for The Holy Catholic Church, our Savior Jesus and the Blessed Mother. Islam is not the only religion that require a head covering. The females of the Hasadim (orthadox jews) cover their hair at all times when in public. If they do not wear a veil they a wig (shadel) as a head cover. There are many religions where woman cover their head out of respect for their ceremonies. Speaking only for myself I can not take the Sacredness of the Mass for granted. I want to show this by dressing modestly and covering my head. This is soley a personal choice how ever I pray others will adopt this same attitude.

  27. Bea says:

    The box with head-coverings at the vestibule of FSSP chapels are there as an OFFERING to ladies who forgot their head-coverings at home and in no way insinuates that they MUST wear them.

    These head-coverings are usually put out by other women parishioners who have found themselves in these same straits and wish to aid other ladies who wish to wear the veils and do not have them with them.

    It is NOT a “hidden pressure” AnnM, only an act of courtesy.

  28. Bea says:

    PS,
    AnnM if you feel it to be a “hidden pressure” maybe it’s the Holy Spirit speaking to you for the Greater Glory and Honor of God. Give it a try. It may grow on you.

  29. cothrige says:

    I have a different curiosity about clothing. My wife and I have talked about a road trip to experience the Extraordinary Form, but have not yet because of what we have been told by others who have been to such. They insist that women, in addition to veiling, are absolutely required to wear dresses. My wife does not like dresses, and does not own any. Because of this she and I are decidedly uncomfortable with following through on our desire to visit such a church. But now I find myself wondering. Is this really a rule though, and would we be shunned and absued by others if we were to appear with my wife wearing pants? [Not the topic here.]

  30. Pingback: Holy Rosary Authority Vatican II Chapel Veil LGBT Mass | Big Pulpit

  31. TXKathi says:

    cothrige:
    I would be surprised if you went to an EF parish and your wife was “shunned and abused” for wearing pants. [Not the topic here.] That is a bit harsh. We have been going to an EF parish for 3 years, and while there is a dress code, it’s not posted anywhere on the building & there is no one at the door not allowing you in if you violate it. Trads believe in charity as well and believe it or not, I would guess most of us do give the benefit of the doubt and really are not scrutinizing what people are wearing on Sunday.
    From our parish website:
    “In charity to God and neighbor, please respect the following dress code at _______:
    Gentlemen:
    Please wear collared shirts, slacks, and dress shoes — preferably with a tie and a jacket. Please do not wear jeans, tee shirts, and sneakers.
    Ladies:
    Please cover everything from the shoulders to the knees (even when seated), inclusive — and a veil is always welcome. A blouse should not be cut lower than two fingers width below the pit of the throat. Please do not wear tight or see-through clothing.”

    Note the silence on the skirts/dress vs. pants issue.
    The dress code is also posted occasionally on the back page of the bulletin . While most women do wear skirts or dresses, there are several who regularly wear pants or pant suits. About 15% of women don’t veil (& Bea, I’m there w/you — The box of veils in the narthex come in quite handy when I’ve forgotten my own). I know I wore “non-dress code” type things in our early days attending; no one said anything, I didn’t feel scrutinized, but I did eventually acclimate to the norm – which was a bit of a humility/pride issue for me. I use to really like wearing sleeveless blouses and sporty, above the knee skirts, & I had to learn to put obedience first. There have been people come in who are wearing jeans, or shorts or mini skirts or low cut blouses or whatever. I’m surmising they would figure out that what they are wearing isn’t the norm & might choose to dress differently if they continue coming. Our pastor has mentioned the dress code every now & then from the pulpit, and also tells us that our job is to make our parish to be known as the most charitable in the diocese and discussing clothing with people is his job. I’ve heard our associate say that if people continue coming to our parish they will eventually dress appropriately w/o anyone saying anything – just b/c people naturally want to fit in.

    And for the topic – I love seeing a sea of veils and being part of one. In the OF parish I attend daily Mass at, it’s not quite a sea, but there are a few drops scattered amongst us – a transformation which has been delightful to witness.

  32. AnAmericanMother says:

    cothridge,
    I would say it depends on the pants. [Review the topic.]
    A conservative wool suit, cut properly so it’s not tight in the wrong places, with a pretty silk blouse and nice shoes, is probably going to draw zero comments.
    But khakis, skin-tight slacks, or heaven forfend jeans, just won’t do. Our FSSP church here is pretty conservative all round – men in suits, women in nice dresses. More or less what we all USED to wear to church.
    Even in my hippiest hippie days, when I more or less lived in highly decorated jeans and an old OD army jacket, I did have a dress or two for grandparents, occasions, etc. I used to get them off the clearance rack at the local department store.
    But why don’t you just call the pastor and ASK?

  33. AnAmericanMother says:

    For what it’s worth,
    Back when I was an Episcopalian child in the 1960′s, our parish had little square leather bins of black lace chapel caps in the narthex for ladies who had forgotten theirs.
    Many wore the chapel caps, some mantillas. The ladies in the choir wore little vaguely Elizabethan tricorne caps.
    I’m pretty sure the Piskies weren’t being patriarchal or oppressing women or anything at the time.

  34. AnnM says:

    Hi Bea! Thanks for your explanation – yes looked at that way I begin to understand the veil box but there are often an awful lot of veils in it, so to turn your suggestion around, perhaps an awful lot of ladies are forgetting their veils and the Holy Spirit is trying to to tell them something :)! Seriously, at my age and wearing a veil, I would look like a witch or Miss Havisham and would upset the Lord by constantly fiddling with it. Not that I haven’t thought this one through, you understand. But unless I’m ever blessed enough to have a private audience with the Pope, I will stick to hats!
    btw I do feel for cothridge, who asked about dress codes at the EF. While I really think we should make an effort to dress apparopriately for Mass, I must say that I often think back nostalgically to the days before I encountered the (small but scary minority of) Modesty Fascists that lurk at American Traditional Latin Masses and I never once felt self-conscious or worried about what I was wearing at Mass, or whether or not I should be wearing anything on my head. I was free to concentrate on the matter in hand and there’s something to be said for that!

  35. Jeanette says:

    Ann M says she would not suggest the women in the 1970′s were disobedient when they threw off their hats and other head coverings for prayer. Well, why not?

    They were being DISOBEDIENT to Canon Law at the time (not to mention divine law which yet binds)…which bound until the codex of 1983 abrogated the codex of 1917.

    What a strange world this is where a 2000 year old tradition (a practice handed down by word of mouth or by observation of that practice) is no longer a tradition because a specific number of disobedient western women in the last 40 years have decided to disobey it. Thank goodness the Church develops its dogma and doctrine along only what is meaningful to the disobedient laity (This is sarcasm).

    What I wonder about is why no one brings up the standard by which one discerns what is of the faith and what is not in settling this issue (Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Ch. 3 On Faith, #8). It’s clear from the teaching of the First Vatican Council that this is an issue of what is contained in the Word of God as found in Scripture and tradition. That being the case, all the baptized are bound to believe by divine and Catholic faith that baptized women must needs cover their heads at prayer and prophesy. That means if one rejects this obstinately, he sins against the faith (resulting in major excommunication). If he believes it and with full knowledge and consent refuses to do it, however, he sins against charity (resulting in minor excommunication).

    The necessity of women to cover their heads at prayer and prophesy is taught by St. Paul in the Scriptures. It is taught throughout the ages of the Church by Fathers and Doctors…and most recently bound in a codex of Canon Law. To offer that current or local disobedience changes the binding necessity of an article of faith is fallacious reasoning. To offer that a change in Canon Law reflects a change in divine law is absurd.

    Fr. Z may not agree with this, but it is objectively verifiable nonetheless.

  36. Mary Jane says:

    @ Jeanette, there is no such thing as “major excommunication” or “minor excommunication”. Furthermore, covering of the head is not an “an article of faith”.

  37. Suburbanbanshee says:

    1. In the real Catholic tradition, as opposed to the imaginary one, women have always worn a wide variety of head coverings. As I’ve shown before, in most US parishes before Vatican II, and for at least the last hundred years, you didn’t see a “sea of veils.” Filipino, Mexican, Italian, and similar ethnic parishes might have seen such things, but the normal parish was a forest of hats, hair ribbons, kerchiefs, fascinators, snoods, etc. Because more than 50% of American Catholics’ families immigrated here from Northern Europe, and they wore either European or American fashions they were used to dressing up in.

    2. If you want to embrace the Southern European/Latin American Catholic heritage, there’s nothing wrong with that. But you shouldn’t confuse it with traditional Catholicism per se.

    3. Being cliquish about veils does happen, and it’s weird and counterproductive.

    4. Veil rhetoric has historically struggled against Muslim influence. Lima was a great Spanish colonial city, but the women of Peru had to walk around all day in “mantas” (cloak/burqas that covered all but one eye) back in the 17th century, because the Reconquista hadn’t knocked the weirdness of Muslim rule out of the Spanish colonists.

  38. Jeanette says:

    Mary Jane – What is the standard which you use to judge whether the command for women to cover their heads at prayer or prophecy is not an article of faith? and How do you judge that there is no such thing as major or minor excommunication?

  39. Mary Jane says:

    @ Jeanette – the Church’s standard. If you look up the definition of an article of the faith, you’ll find that “headcoverings for women” doesn’t fall into the article of faith category.

    How do you judge that there *is* such a thing as major or minor excommunication? Please give a source.

  40. Jeanette says:

    Hi, again, Mary Jane,

    I think it’s quite a cop-out to answer in a gnostic fashion “the Church’s standard” to my question and not give the specific rule which you use… or Are you suggesting that the standard to judge what is and is not of the faith given in the First Vatican Council (“Wherefore, by divine and catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the Word of God as found in Scripture and Tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal Magisterium.”) is not the standard of the Church? I ask that because if the standard by which to judge what is and is not of the faith IS in fact the one given in the First Vatican Council, then it (that women are bound to cover their heads at prayer and prophecy) IS in fact an article of faith which must be believed by divine and Catholic faith.

    I judge by common sense that there are such conditions as major and minor excommunication. The Catholic Encyclopaedia at New Advent website cites the historical use of said terms and even the codex of Canon Law for Oriental Catholics still uses the differentiation of excommunication.

  41. Mary Jane says:

    Jeanette, an article of Faith contains some revealed Truth that the faithful are required to believe in order to be Catholic. For example, the Assumption of Mary, or any of the articles of the Creed – these would be articles of the Faith. What revealed truth does wearing a headcovering at Mass require the faithful to believe?

    Perhaps at one point in history there were distinctions made between kinds of excommunication but those distinctions no longer exist today. There is only one form of excommunication today. The site you mentioned (Catholic Encyclopedia at newadvent.org) talks about this: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05678a.htm

    I wear a veil to Mass. I’m not arguing against headcoverings. I’m arguing against the way you argue for headcoverings.

  42. Jeanette says:

    Mary Jane,

    The underlying truth is that a woman ought (as in, is gravely bound) to have a power over her head, as reflected in Genesis 3:16 (et sub viri potestate eris, &c.) and St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 11:10 (ideo debet mulier potestatem habere supra caput propter angelos) and throughout the tradition of the Church, the manifestation of such (i.e., the headcovering) being morally binding. This is bound on our belief by divine and Catholic faith since it is contained in the Word of God as found in Scripture and tradition.

    The differentiation is still made today in regard to excommunication. If it were not, then the differentiation would not be made in Canon Law (as it for Oriental Churches) any longer. There is still differentiation made in the Latin Church between a latae sententiae excommunication, ferendae sententiae excommunication and anathema, as well. So, it’s not just plain “excommunication” even in the west.

  43. Jeanette says:

    Also, Mary Jane, I am not writing in regard to the woman being bound to wear a head covering only to Mass, but actually when she prays or prophesies.

  44. Mary Jane says:

    Jeanette, Latæ and Ferendæ Sententiæ are not so much the “kind” of excommunication but rather more how the excommunication is incurred.

    How the excommunication is incurred is is a lot different than “major and minor”.

  45. Mary Jane says:

    Just wanted to say this is my last comment in this thread. God Bless.